Share the Warmth donation locations change, event set for Oct. 17

BROOKINGS – The Brookings County Salvation Army has changed the drop-off locations for winter clothing and gear for its upcoming Share the Warmth event. 

The new locations are at the University Mall parking lot and at the Faith Reformed Church parking lot. Best Choice Realty has donated two moving trucks for the event for individuals to leave their donated items in through Oct. 13. 

The trucks are open from 8:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. daily and are closed and locked in the evening. Once a week, Salvation Army volunteers retrieve, sort and organize the items so they can prepare for the Oct. 17 event at Faith Reformed Church.

“We were very lucky in that we were able to partner with Best Choice Realty,” said Jill Lindsay Johnson, vice chairperson of the Brookings County Salvation Army. “They were very generous and donated two separate trucks for us this year. So, in the past we had donation boxes at various locations throughout town; which, with the scale of the project being so huge, it was really difficult to keep up with picking it up and getting it where it needs to go.”

Chairperson Nicole Biever said having the trucks for the donation process was “not just for the scale of what we’re receiving, but also the scale of the need as well.”

“There weren’t enough of us to go and pick up things,” Lindsay Johnson said. She also said the new storage unit they rented is no longer big enough to store all the donated items.

According to Lindsay Johnson, at the 2018 Share the Warmth event, the Salvation Army served 698 children and roughly 550 adults in need. 

Children tend to need hats, coats, snow pants, boots and gloves, Lindsay Johnson said. That’s 3,500 items of winter clothing for children alone.

Biever said that one of the most-needed items for children are good snow pants due to how easily snow pants are worn through from use.

Share the Warmth has been held in Brookings for at least 15 years, Lindsay Johnson said. “Every year we make changes to make things more efficient.”

“To imagine the event,” Biever said, “it’s like taking one of those downtown boutique stores – like a J.Ella or a Prairie Mermaid – and creating that store in a day, having it totally sell out all your products several times a day.” 

Share the Warmth requires a small army of volunteers. The sum total of those helping with donation delivery and those working during the event itself reaches somewhere between 250-300 people, Lindsay Johnson said. 

The Salvation Army of Brookings County has also worked with SDSU, not only for able-bodied volunteers, but to also have several interpreters to work with individuals and families that need assistance with translations.

Both Lindsay Johnson and Biever are deeply grateful for the Brookings community. 

“They astound us every year with how generous they are with donations,” Lindsay Johnson said. “People not just bringing gently used items …, but they go and purchase new items themselves and they make these donations.”

The event works on an alphabet system, where recipients of the winter gear arrive at Faith Reformed Church based on the first letter of their last name. 

This year’s giveaway is set for 9 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Oct. 17 at Faith Reformed Church, 1330 Main Ave. S. No registration or sign-up is needed, and attendance times based on last names are: 9-11 a.m., Q-S; 11 a.m.-1 p.m., T–Z; 1-3 p.m., A-D; 3-5 p.m., C-H; 5-7 p.m., I-L; 7-8 p.m., M-P.

For more information about how to volunteer or donate or more about Share the Warmth, visit the Brookings Salvation Army Facebook page or stop into its new office at 410 Seventh St.

COURTESY OF: The Brookings Register

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